Real Women Doing Real Things: Valerie Ding, Co-Founder of CruBox

We all know that group workout classes aren’t for everyone but CruBox is one of those fitness studios that literally everyone raves about.  Why is that? Well not only is the boxing studio super chic, but the classes are really fun and motivational as well.  I recently chatted with Crubox CEO and Co-Founder Valerie Ding to find out exactly how she got started and what she learned along the way starting a fitness empire…

Tell us a little about CruBox.
My siblings and I had started CruCycle in Singapore, which was built off of the inspiration from SoulCycle. We wanted to create a community in Singapore; a fitness community, which was lacking in the market at the time. Four years ago, after implementing our first studio CruCycle, we gained a lot of success and popularity in southeast Asia and within a short period of time we were one of the top boutique studios in Southeast Asia – we were ready to expand.  We saw boxing as a new trend that was picking up and gaining momentum and decided to explore the option of creating a new concept. This all led to the inspiration for CruBox as a second concept of our CRU brand.

Boxing has always been seen as a predominantly male sport and is being two females championing this project was something unusual.  We wanted to create a space where people would leave feeling empowered, stronger and more confident…while also learning something in the class.

Were you into boxing before? Or did you love start when you saw a need in the market?

I had tried boxing before but I really started to fall in love with the sport when I started learning about it in depth.  I believe that to create anything and do it well you have to have a passion for it…and, in this case, it was creating an authentic fitness boxing program. Whilst creating this program and concept I spent hours and hours at a boxing gym, not only learning how to jab and cross but also learning about real professional fighters and where they came from, how they lived, how they trained and most importantly how they risked their lives for the sport.

What has been your biggest learning to-date and what did you learn from it?

I’ve learned so much on this journey. In four years, we are now opening our third studio in Singapore. It’s been a long, educational experience.  I also learned that everything happens for a reason and you shouldn’t dwell too much on things that don’t go your way. There will always be setbacks and disappointments, but I’ve learned not to take them so much to heart and dwell on it- something brighter will come along!

Who is one female entrepreneur that you admire and why?

Glossier founder Emily Weiss – she seems like a strong, independent girl boss!  Her social media profile is down to earth, but yet one that is inspiring.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started CruBox but know now?

How hard it was going to be to launch against so many competitors in the most trendy fitness sport in the market. But hey, we pushed and we made it!

What’s next for CruBox?

CruBox 2.0 is opening in Singapore December 2018 (with more in the pipeline early next year!)

What’s your best advice for women who want to enter the fitness space as an entrepreneur?

Don’t forget why you started. Always keep those values and goals, stay true to your vision and don’t let too much noise affect your decisions. If you’re the one making the decisions, there’s a reason why you’re the one making them and don’t let anyone sway you otherwise. Fitness is a very competitive market; also know what you’re getting yourself into before jumping!

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